by the Walton Family Foundation
A new Fishery Improvement Partnership Fund that will help address overfishing – one of the largest threats to the global seafood supply – will leverage philanthropic, industry and government resources to help develop and advance Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) worldwide.
The Walton Family Foundation (WFF), in collaboration with Darden Restaurants, plans to create the new fund as an investment model. The fund, announced at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting, is being developed as an official CGI Commitment to Action.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) will manage the new fund, and with its partners, will develop a structure for matching contributions, select projects and evaluate the effectiveness of funded projects.
Advised by the New England Aquarium, Florida based Darden Restaurants – owner of the Red Lobster and Olive Garden chains – is the initial contributor. The WFF and its partners plan to identify and recruit other contributors.
First FIP to Support Honduras Spiny Lobster
It is estimated that more than 400 FIPs are needed to meet buyer demand for sustainable seafood supply.
The Fund’s first project will support the spiny lobster fishery in Honduras. The fishery, worth nearly $50 million in annual exports to the U.S alone, provides direct employment to more than 4,000 people from coastal communities. Despite its economic importance, national management strategies and weak fisheries governance have made the fishery unsustainable.
It will support the spiny lobster fishery by improving the management and sustainability of the trap fishery and the long-term prospects for the Honduran fishermen and their communities.
“The foundation supports efforts to improve the long-term health and sustainability of fisheries around the world, and this collaborative model is a natural next step in that commitment that we look forward to replicating across the globe,” said Scott Burns, director of the Walton Family Foundation’s environment program. “The Fishery Improvement Partnership Fund aligns with our mission to find lasting, common-sense conservation solutions that strengthen economies and support local communities that depend on healthy oceans.”
Walton Foundation Invests in Environment
The Walton Family Foundation promotes environmental solutions that make economic sense for communities and their natural resources. The foundation works to achieve change that lasts by creating new and unexpected partnerships and bringing conservation, business and community interests to the same table to build long-term solutions to big problems.
The Walton Family Foundation invested $91 million in environmental initiatives during the past year.
The Walton Family Foundation has been a long-time supporter of FIPs. With the increasing demand for these projects, the need for funds to support FIPs outstrips the capacity of the philanthropic community. By establishing the Fishery Improvement Partnership Fund, the Walton Family Foundation seeks to better leverage other sources of funding to support FIPs and increase industry support of and participation in FIPs.
“We believe in a collaborative approach to support healthy ecosystems and are proud to serve as an initial contributor to the Fishery Improvement Partnership Fund as a sustaining and solution-oriented model for change,” said Brandon Tidwell, Manager of Sustainability for Darden Restaurants. “We are committed to catalyzing and supporting healthy fisheries to ultimately ensure a sustainable global seafood supply for future generations.”
This commitment builds upon Darden’s 2011 CGI Commitment to rebuild troubled fisheries through three targeted FIPs around the globe. Darden’s collaboration with CGI, WFF, NEAQ, NFWF and others demonstrates a renewed multi-stakeholder approach to meet the demand for FIPs and to foster ownership of conservation projects by the seafood industry.
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,300 commitments, which has improved the lives of more than 400 million people in more than 180 countries.